Washington State Awards Over $85 Million to Expand EV Charging Statewide


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined Mike Fong, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, in awarding over $85 million in grants that will fund nearly 5,000 new electric vehicle charging stations in communities throughout the state.

All the funds are going to nonprofits, electric utilities, tribes and public agencies. Half of the grants will install chargers in communities most at risk of negative health effects caused by fossil fuel pollution.

“One of the most important ways we can make electric vehicles an option for more people is by providing more charging stations,” says Inslee. “More and more Washingtonians are choosing to go electric, to the point we now have the second-highest rate of EV adoption in the nation. Thanks to the Climate Commitment Act and other climate investments by the Legislature, thousands more people will be able to choose clean electric cars that are healthier for children and for our planet.”

“We are committed to ensuring that the benefits from decarbonizing Washington’s economy are experienced broadly,” adds Fong. “The process for awarding these EV charging grants prioritized projects that add chargers in multifamily housing, publicly accessible locations and in communities highly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution.”

One grantee, Women of Wisdom (WOW) Tri-Cities, has an EV carshare program. It provides a transportation option to those in low-mobility areas, while also making EVs more accessible and visible to people in rural communities that may not have considered EVs. Its three public charging sites serve Yakima, College Place and Walla Walla.

“WOW Carshare program is a visionary initiative that tackles emission issues head-on, while also addressing the critical EV charging demand,” says Chauné Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of WOW Tri-Cities. “By bridging the gap of resources, WOW Care not only helps reduce emissions, but also empowers communities that have historically been marginalized, creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”

This is the first phase of investments through the Washington State Electric Vehicle Charging Program, with additional support from the Climate Commitment Act. These efforts are designed to reduce transportation emissions, improve air quality and promote equitable access to EV charging.

Among the awards announced are:

  • 213 multifamily properties, including apartment buildings
  • 211 fleets and workplaces, primarily local government agencies and school districts
  • 141 public locations, such as recreation centers, libraries and grocery stores

In total, these awards will result in the installation of 4,710 Level 2 EV chargers with 5,362 individual charging plugs and 271 direct current fast chargers with 420 plugs. Depending on the vehicle and charging unit, a Level 2 charger can add 10 to 20 miles per hour of charging and fully charge a 300-mile range battery in about six to eight hours. Given this, Level 2 chargers are perfect for destination and overnight charging.

DC fast chargers can charge a 300-mile range battery up to 80% in 20 minutes and are often used as range extenders along major travel corridors or at places where a driver would spend up to an hour.

Funding was allocated to applicants based on a competitive scoring system that prioritized installations in areas with high levels of pollution and few existing chargers, among other criteria. To help applicants understand where ideal charging opportunities existed and how their locations might score in prioritization, Commerce partnered with Timmons Group to create two interactive maps, one focused on public charging sites and another for residential sites.

The national nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy assisted Commerce in program design, including incentive structure and eligibility requirements, and is providing ongoing applicant technical assistance, consumer support and outreach.

Looking beyond EVs, Commerce will soon open applications for approximately $67 million to fund community decarbonization efforts that will advance clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the primary benefit of overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. This will include projects that modernize the electric grid, promote innovation and solar energy deployment, enhance community resilience, support low-income communities, target industrial decarbonization and facilitate the siting and permitting of clean energy projects.

In addition, Commerce is launching a Tribal Clean Energy funding opportunity with at least $16 million available to similar projects by federally recognized tribal governments and tribes’ contracted service providers.

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